Howard Firkin
(your birthday poem)
My face is like old undies: the elastic
is gone. I crease like washing left too long,
too wet in the machine... and that faint pong...
old cheese, back of the fridge, still wrapped in plastic.
It isn't pretty and it comes to all.
I comfort my old papery skin with touch:
with wattle, feathers, dough, with turning pages,
and memories of thinking there were stages
of my life when something mattered much.
But luckily, my mind moves past recall.

When you have birthdays, you just look as though
your beauty is the nacre of the August skies,
and beauty only changes form to grow.
Each year I'm meant to think it no surprise.